Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Providence Cyclocross Festival, Day 1 and 2, October 10 and 11

The big news on Saturday was that Tim Johnson did it again.  In addition to winning, he again took out another rider for the second straight race.  But this time it wasn't a former world's silver medalist (i.e. Jon Page),  it was a 6 year old kid riding his BMX bike around the infield after the race. 

I barely saw it happen out of the corner of my eye - Tim was starting to ride down hill from the finish area past the bike expo and toward the podium after winning the race.  The young guy, whose name was Ryder, was riding right into Tim's path and Tim had little choice but to t-bone Ryder, knocking him off the bike.  I doubt Tim even saw the kid until it was too late. 

Too many kids are conditioned to think that they should cry when they fall down even if they aren't hurt.  To his credit, Ryder got up like a true cyclocrosser and didn't shed a single tear.  I just missed having the camera out, and apparently was nowhere near the scene this time, but I did get a shot of Ryder soon after he got up:

Always wear your helmet, kids.  You never know when TJ might be near.

Tim really is a nice guy.  He went out of his way to make sure that Ryder was ok and chatted for a couple minutes with Ryder and his parents.  Once the kid was back on his bike and everything was alright, Tim said "Come on kid, you and me are going to the podium."  He later gave Ryder his first place medal.

TJ and Ryder heading for the podium

TJ doing the post-race interview

That was actually the end of the day.  A lot happened leading up to it.  I got to Providence in time for the Elite Women's and Men's races but missed everything before that, including the race that I had preregistered for.  When I went to bed Friday evening, I was planning on racing Saturday morning despite a sore throat and stuffy nose.  But it got much worse overnight and at about 2 AM I woke up and turned the alarm off so I could try to sleep it off.  $30 down the drain, but I would have been completely miserable if I had tried to race.  I slept around the clock and felt good enough to spectate Saturday afternoon.

Readers of this blog (Dave Foley, my mom, my parole officer) might recall that I ruined my camera in the rain at Gloucester last week.  That's actually a good thing, I hated that camera.  It missed more shots than it got and it would kill a pair of AAs every 20 minutes.  I got a new Fujifilm S1500 on Friday and with no practice at all, started taking much better photos than I ever have before.  Wait until I learn how to use this thing!  It was kind of an impulsive purchase because it was the only real camera the store had, the rest of them looked even cheaper than the one I had ruined.  But it got the Paul Weiss seal of approval Saturday so it must be alright.  Hey Paul, what does appurture mean?  I have a lot to learn, but here are some of the photos I took of the women's race:

Those yellow Mavic shoes are getting popular.

Mo Bruno (blue tape) didn't look comfortable in the race or on the line.

Amy Dombroski had a very strong ride in 3rd place.

Rebecca Wellons heading to the finish

The women's podium with Richard Fries (l to r): Katerina Nash (1st),
Amy Dombroski (3rd) and Mary McConneloug (2nd)

Ms. Nash had the race in the bag early on and not much seemed to change after the first lap.  Mary McConneloug was sort of a surprise finishing second in her first cross race of the year.  Amy Dombroski is riding very strong and finished third.  The podium was exactly the same on Day 2.  The Verge points series leader heading into the weekend, Natasha Elliot wasn't present this weekend, probably so she could attend the Canadian National cross championships, so the leaders jersey was in jeopordy.  Mo Bruno, who has scored points in all six races so far took the lead by 16 points.  Rebecca Wellons has stayed close by being competitive in every race and is currently third in the series.

In the men's race, Dan Timmerman needed to finish well against some strong competion to retain his series lead and he managed to do that with an eighth place finish Saturday and 5th on Sunday.  He finished the weekend tied with Tim Johnson for the series lead.

Series leader Dan Timmerman at the start line.

My new camera has a "panorama" feature that stitches together 3 pictures. 
Well, sort of.  It needs work.

Adam Myerson and Tim Johnson at the start line.

Sexual Camel?  Must be a mountain bike thing.

Chris Jones, a roadie (not Rhodey) thing.

Frattini, Weighall, and Timmerman

A beer thief  dabs in the woods.

Does Adam squeeze the brake levers with fingers
or push them with the palms of his hands?

Tim Johnson is telling me to "go left, go left".  After he went by I understood why.  He planned to stretch the tape out on this corner while he carried maximum speed.  Pro tip: The course tape is fair game.  If it doesn't break, you are still on the course.

Results Boy takes the same line just a moment later. 
Exactly how long is a "moment" anyway?

Here is Butch Balzano from SRAM digging through the car looking for some chain rings for Adam Myerson after the race.  Van Dessel gave Adam cranks and chain rings with 53 tooth outer rings.  Adam was flattered, but decided to build his 2009 cross rigs with something a bit smaller.  Butch is the man.

Sunday mornng I awoke feeling much better and decided to do the day of registration for the Cat 4 masters race.  Being a day of registrant, I got to start DFL in the last row.  I was number 769 and two guys registered after me bringing the total to 71 in the race (counting any preregistered riders who might have been sick and stayed in bed).  I was still kind of clogged up from the cold, but I went ok.  I passed a bunch on the paved start and kept the pressure on when we reached the grass.  The first turns were a pinball game but I managed to get a couple of good bounces and didn't have to get off the bike where others did.  I must have gotten near the top 25 on the first lap, but then I started to slide.  I lost about 4 or 5 places per lap for the rest of the race and didn't stop sliding until the last half lap.  37th out of 71 is practically top half if you assume that all everyone was there and that DNFs are last (there are only 58 or so i nthe results).  So, I almost made my goal of being in the top half and I am getting better each race.  Considering my starting position, I'll call it a pass.  I wonder what I could have done if I was healthy Saturday and got my prereg starting spot.  I think I would have been in the third row, maybe fourth.

My coach, Negacoach, was heckling me during the race and yelled something completely useless about riding too slow to deserve to have a beard.  WTF?  Try telling me something useful like "get the water bottle out of your back pocket, it's only a half hour long race!"  That might have been helpful since I had forgotten to ditch it at the line and rode the entire race looking like a Fred with that bottle back there.  I am surprised I never felt it when the bike was on my shoulder on a run up.  At least I had a nice sip of Hs, twos, and Os handy at the finish.  

So I had the Fred water bottle thing going against me, but I felt totally pro using embrocation for the first time ever, unless Bag Balm counts as embrocation.  We used to use Bag Balm in the spring time, especially if it was raining, because tights or warmers would get soaking wet and heavy.  But you had to have your legs shaved or it made an awful mess.  I haven't shaved them since my Cat 3 days a long time ago, but I found that the Mad Alchemy stuff isn't too bad with hairy legs, it just doesn't look as pro.  Even the mildest heat level was pleasant in the morning chill.  The only down side was that it lasted well into the night and felt quite hot under the covers when I didn't really want it to.  I probably could have wiped it off more thoroughly and avoided the bedwarmer effect.

After my race was over it was time to head back to Plymouth for a gig with my band at noon.  I was cutting it close, but made it just in time.  When we started playing, my head just wasn't into it.  I usually remember the lyrics to songs that I sing pretty easily, but something wasn't right in my head all afternoon and I kept forgetting the lyrics to songs that I wrote and covers that I have sung hundreds of times.  It was weird.  And that sweet precious nectar, beer, didn't seem to help.  I probably won't try to race and play music professionally in the same day again.  But despite the mental block, it was a fun afternoon.  Stop by T Bones Road House in Plymouth November 1 at noon if you aren't heading to Vermont for the cross race.

1 comment:

solobreak said...

Unique story and great pictures, but after looking at Camel Boy, do I need to bring up the beard again?